Sunday, July 29, 2007

LDP loses their grip on power

Well, to an extent. Japan's Liberal Democratic Party got a severe drubbing in the Diet's upper house, with Ichiro Ozawa's Democratic Party of Japan taking over control. PM Abe will still be Prime Minister, but he's going to have an enormously difficult time passing legislation.

That this happened at all is the bigger news, though. The LDP is about as dominant as a political party can be in a democratic state. Aside from a few very short spurts where other coalitions seized control in the 1990's, the LDP has had an unbroken grip on power. That this could happen is incredible; that it would happen when Japan's economic situation is (if not perfect) pretty good, and following Junichiro Koizumi's utter dominance of the Diet is astonishing. There has been scandal, yes, but the LDP has demonstrated an almost preternatural ability to absorb and deflect all but the worst scandal in the past.

In the meantime, the man to watch is Ozawa. He was always a big player in the LDP, at one point likely to be named PM before his LDP faction broke apart. His taking over of the DPJ showed both that the Democrats were moving somewhat to the right and that the DPJ was going to be playing hardball. He may be Prime Minister yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment